How to Become a Babysitter

If you love being around kids and are looking to make some extra cash, becoming a babysitter can be a great idea. However, whether you’re 12 or 24, you’ll be a better babysitter if you take the time to prepare for the role. To ensure the safety of the kids you watch and the success of your babysitting career, you should evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, get appropriate training and certifications, and make sure you line up gigs that suit you well.

EditEvaluating Your Interests and Readiness
Be honest with yourself about your maturity level and readiness. Babysitting may seem like “easy money,” especially if you have experience watching younger siblings at home. However, it is a real job that can have very real consequences if you’re not prepared or mature enough to handle it. Ask yourself questions like:[1]
“Am I old enough?” — Most families will be uncomfortable hiring anyone under 11, and may in fact prefer babysitters who are 14 or older.

“Am I mature enough to watch kids by myself?” — You need to have focus, stamina, and emotional control to be able to successfully babysit kids. Even if you’re a young teen, you need to be able to be the adult in the room.

“Can I dedicate myself to the job?” — Babysitting takes a lot of time and energy, so make sure you can handle the stress and the time taken away from things like schoolwork.

Ask yourself how much you like, understand, and know about kids. This may seem silly, but ask yourself directly: “Do I like being around kids?” If you can’t answer with an enthusiastic “yes!” you should find another way to make some money—maybe by doing yardwork around the neighborhood.[2]
Also ask yourself things like: “Can I change a diaper?”; “Do I know when kids start walking?”; “Do I know how to calm a child who bumps an elbow or scrapes a knee?” If your answers are “no,” seek advice from, and opportunities to observe and assist, friends and family with small children.

Decide whether you have other desirable qualities for a babysitter. Great babysitters all have their own individual skill sets, and different babysitting gigs call for different abilities. However, there are some general qualities that nearly all good babysitters have, including:[3]
The ability to communicate with kids. Do you know how to speak simply, calmly, directly, and positively with a child?

Respect for differences. Are you comfortable around people who may have different lifestyles, belief systems, or economic backgrounds than yours?

A willingness to be a good role model. Can you be someone who kids will look up to and want to emulate?

Consider your willingness to make decisions and take action. As a babysitter, you must be willing and able to make quick decisions to ensure the safety and well-being of the kids you’re watching. Often, the kids won’t like it, but you must be able to do what is best for them. In fact, sometimes you must be willing to upset the parents in order to do the right thing.[4]
For example, if you see signs of potential abuse—for instance, frequent, unexplained bruises; fear of physical contact or undressing; unsafe living conditions—you must be willing to act. You need to confide in an adult you trust and work with them to call a child abuse hotline or the police.

EditGetting Training and Certifications
Check on the laws, regulations, and required certifications where you live. In some places, there may be few restrictions on who can be a babysitter. In other places, you may need to complete specific training programs and be licensed by the appropriate government authority. Before you begin trying to get babysitting gigs, make sure you meet the requirements where you live.[5]
There may, for instance, be age restrictions in your area that you don’t yet meet.

Ask other babysitters for information on regulations where you live. Also call or check the website of the health, human services, or similar department of your local government.

Take a babysitting training class from a well-regarded organization. Whether or not a training program certification is required where you live, you’ll find it much easier to get babysitting jobs if you are certified. Certification lets parents know that you’ve put in the time and effort to become a knowledgeable, professional babysitter.
Look for in-person or online certification programs from reputable organizations, such as (in the U.S.) the American Red Cross.[6]
You must be at least 11 years old to take the Red Cross babysitting certification course. The course costs around $40-$50 USD.

Local colleges or universities might also offer certification programs.[7]

Get First Aid and CPR certifications as well. In some cases, First Aid and CPR certification might be included within your babysitting certification. If they aren’t, it’s worth your time to get these certifications as well. Doing so will make you that much more prepared—and appealing to potential employers.
The American Red Cross, for instance, offers First Aid and CPR certifications in conjunction with babysitting certification, but they aren’t required. Red Cross First Aid and/or CPR courses cost in the $80-$100 USD range.[8]

Keep a high-quality babysitting handbook as a valuable resource. You’ll probably be given a handbook as part a babysitting certification course. Keep this guide as a handy reference as you look for, and eventually take on, babysitting jobs.
The American Red Cross offers a 50-page emergency handbook for download at

Or, you can download the full American Red Cross babysitter training handbook at

EditFinding Babysitting Gigs
Start by working alongside family members or friends. Before taking on paid babysitting jobs, try helping out a family member or friend with childcare responsibilities. And, if possible, see if you can “tag along” with an established babysitter on one of their jobs. This way, you’ll get a feel for the responsibilities involved without yet being the person in charge.[9]
Make sure you get the permission of the family before “tagging along” on a babysitting gig. If they’re willing to pay you a little, great. But expect it to be an unpaid volunteer experience.

Also keep in mind that you’re there to learn, not to hang out with your friend who happens to be a babysitter.

Determine your specialties, preferences, and limitations for babysitting. Some babysitters focus on watching kids, while others also care for pets, prepare meals, do some light cleaning, and so on. Figure out exactly what type of babysitting jobs you’d like to do by asking yourself questions like:[10]
“What age range of children would I like to work with?” — For instance, are you comfortable working with infants?

“How many kids am I willing or able to care for at once?” — For a new babysitter, one kid can often seem like plenty!

“Am I willing to care for pets as well?” — If so, just cats and dogs, or more exotic pets like birds or reptiles?

“How far am I willing to travel to babysit?” — How are you going to get to your gigs, and how much will it cost you in time and/or money? If you don’t drive yet, you may need to rely on a parent or someone else to get you to your jobs.

“How late can I work, and which days of the week can I work?” — You might want to limit yourself to weekends and no later than 11 pm, for example. If you’re a teen, this is also something you’ll need to work out with your parents.

Create a babysitting resume. A babysitting resume can be a simplified version of a full career resume, and usually only needs to be a single page long. List your contact information at the top, then categories like “Education,” “Certifications,” and “Experience.” Print out a copy of the resume to bring to each interview you do.[11]
Under “Experience,” list some quick details (age and number of children, hours/days watched, etc.) for previous babysitting jobs. If this is your first resume and you haven’t worked any solo gigs yet, describe your experiences watching siblings or cousins, helping out another babysitter, and so on.

Check out the sample babysitting resume on page 18 of

Use word-of-mouth to identify potential babysitting gigs. Rely on your network of family friends, neighbors, your parents’ work colleagues, and other people who already know you to get your first babysitting jobs. If you need some help finding leads, talk to older siblings or their friends who are babysitters.[12]
Especially if you’re a pre-teen or teen, you should not try to advertise your services online or by posting flyers around town. It can be unsafe to share your address and/or contact information publicly.

If you’re 18 or older, you might consider signing up for one or more of the several websites that help connect babysitters with jobs; for instance (in the U.S.), or

EditInterviewing with a Family
Be polite, friendly, prepared, and on-time. All parents want their children to be watched by a babysitter who is trustworthy, mature, and reliable. So, when you have the opportunity to interview with a potential employer, put your best foot forward by arriving on-time and ready to chat.[13]
It’s fine to dress in age-appropriate clothes, but make sure they’re clean and relatively modest. You want to look a little mature for your age, but not like you’re trying to pretend you’re an adult already (unless you are one!).

Show some enthusiasm for the job by being friendly and engaging. If you’re nervous, take a few deep breaths before knocking on the door.

Ask specific questions and get specific answers. A babysitting interview should definitely be a two-way interview. That is to say, you should also be asking questions, not just answering them. Make sure this opportunity and this family is right for you by asking things like:[14]
“Will you always be back by 10 pm, or would I be expected to work past that sometimes?”

“Would I be giving the children baths and putting them to bed?”

“Would I need to feed, watch, and let out the dog as well?”

“Are there foods or snacks that are off-limits for your kids?”

“Is your youngest child fully potty-trained yet?”

Negotiate your pay rate before accepting the job. The average pay rate for babysitters in the U.S. is around $15 USD per hour, but this can vary widely by location. Ask other babysitters in your area how much they charge per hour. Use this information to determine how much you want to charge, as well as the minimum amount you’re willing to accept for the gig.[15]
If you have to travel a fair distance to get to the job, factor in things like travel expenses as well. You might want to ask for $5-$10 per shift for fuel, for example.

If you’re new to babysitting, expect to start at a lower rate than experienced babysitters. After you prove your reliability, you can ask for a raise.

Confirm the key details on hours, payment, and emergencies. You may want to get these key details in writing—at the very least, make sure you and the parents are completely clear and in agreement on them. You might want to ask them directly: “So, I’ll work every Friday and Saturday from 6-10 pm and not later, you’ll pay me $15 per hour in cash each night, and I can reach you at any time at 555-555-5555. Is that right?”[16]
Make sure they provide you with a backup number (for a relative, neighbor, etc.) if they can’t be reached for some reason, and clarify when it would be appropriate for you to call emergency services.

Spend time with the kids and observe the family at home. During or right after the interview, ask if you can meet the kids and spend a little bit of time with them. Even better, ask if you can drop by for a couple hours sometime and observe the family in action at home. Doing so will help you get a good impression of the kids and the expectations the parents have for their care.[17]
Not all kids and families are going to be the best match for you. If the kids seem like they’re more than you can handle, or if the parents seem too demanding (or even not demanding enough), consider looking for another gig.

Be self-confident. Carry yourself with self-assurance, smile, and be sure of your decisions to show that you’re mature and independent.

Show good manners to the kids and the parents. This includes being respectful of a family’s privacy by not going through closets and personal possessions.

Make sure you know what to do when there’s an emergency. Don’t freeze up.

EditRelated wikiHows
Prepare for a Babysitting Job

Entertain Kids When You Are Babysitting

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Today in History for 1st February 2019

Historical Events

1662 – Dutch garrison on Formosa surrenders to Chinese pirates
1954 – Scapino Ballet Studio in Amsterdam destroyed by fire
1960 – Australian Championships Men’s Tennis: In a classic all-Australian final Rod Laver beats Neale Fraser 5-7, 3-6, 6-3, 8-6, 8-6; Laver’s first Grand Slam title win
1965 – Former world heavyweight boxing champion Floyd Patterson beats Canadian George Chuvalo by unanimous decision in a 12-round non-title clash at New York’s Madison Square Garden; ‘The Ring’ names bout Fight of the Year.
1980 – “Call Me” single released by Blondie (Billboard Song of the Year 1980)
1993 – NY Judge Sol Wachtler indicted for harassing Joy Silverman

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1761 – Christian Hendrik Persoon, South African mycologist (d. 1836)
1791 – Charles J Sax, Belgian music instrument builder
1807 – William Bowen Campbell, American politician and Civil War Brigadier General (Union Army), born in Sumner County, Tennessee (d. 1867)
1906 – Hildegarde, Adell Wisc, night club vocalist (I’ll Be Seeing You)
1968 – Mark Recchi, Canadian NHL right wing (Montreal Canadiens), born in Kamloops, Canada
1972 – Richard Becker, American baseball outfielder (Minnesota Twins), born in Aurora, Illinois

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

1902 – Salomon Jadassohn, German pianist and composer, dies at 70
1958 – Clinton Joseph Davisson, dies
1966 – Nicholas Piantanida, sets balloon flight record and dies in descent
1987 – Alessandro Blasetti, Italian film director (b. 1900)
1997 – Herb Caen, American columnist (SF Chronicle), dies of lung cancer, at 80
2005 – George Douglass Milne, British peer, soldier and artist dies at 95

More Famous Deaths »

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How to Choose Cold Weather Fitness Clothing

It is always important to protect yourself against the cold, even when you’re exercising. During cold weather, make sure that you are wearing the right layers made out of material that both wicks away moisture and insulates your body. You should also choose clothing that protects your head, hands, and face. You may even decide that you need winter-specific footwear. The key is to pick layers that you can remove and add as you need.

EditPicking the Right Layers
Choose a light base layer. The layer closest to your skin should be a moisture-wicking material that will keep you dry as you sweat. It should also be form fitting to help insulate your body. Avoid cotton, as it can become damp from your sweat. Instead, look for shirts that are made of:


Wool/Polyester mix[1]

Wear fleece over the base layer. The middle layer can be a pullover sweater, a front-zipping jacket, or a vest. It should be warm and insulating while still allowing your body to breathe. Fleece is a good middle layer as it is warm and soft like wool but much lighter.[3]
If you live in an area that is extremely cold, you may decide to wear wool. Be aware that it is much heavier, and it may be more burdensome as you exercise.

Find a breathable outer coat. The outermost layer should be a waterproof coat. You may want to look for one that has zipper vents, which you can open to air out your armpits. Unless you live in an extremely cold area, you may only need a light shell or a raincoat for this layer.[4] Some good materials for the outer layer include:



Pick long pants or tights. You should not wear shorts during the wintertime. Although you can warm up through exercise, it may not be sufficient to prevent cold related conditions like hypothermia. Wear long pants, leggings, exercise tights, or yoga pants when exercising outside.
If it is dry outside, you might choose a polyester blend or cotton for your pants.

If it is wet or snowy, you might opt for a waterproof bottom.

If you run, you may want to look for thermal running tights.

Select reflective gear. As it can get dark early in winter, you want to make sure that you are visible to motorists as you exercise. When buying fitness clothing, look for outer layers that have reflective coloring, such as metallic orange or silver.[5]
If you cannot find reflective winter clothing, you can also look for clip-on LED lights or reflective arm bands, belts, and shoe clips.

EditProtecting Your Head and Hands
Buy a hat or headband. Headgear can keep your ears and head warm as you exercise outside. When looking for good hats and headbands, find a material that is thick and insulated. Both hats and headbands should pull over and cover your ears.[6]
If you get a knit hat, make sure that it is lined on the inside.

Layer your gloves. Try finding thin glove liners that you can wear under thicker gloves. When your hands get too warm, take off the heavier gloves, and just wear the glove liners.[7]
Glove liners are often made out of thin, insulating materials. Some may be made out of natural materials, like wool, while others made be a mix of synthetic materials, like Thermasilk, spandex, and nylon.

Your outer gloves can be something heavier, such as knitted wool. You can even wear fingerless hand warmers over the glove liners if that is more comfortable.

Find a helmet for winter sports. If you are skiing, snowboarding, or biking, make sure that you have adequate head protection. A good helmet will prevent injury in case you slip or fall.[8]
A good helmet will be snug but not too tight. Be sure to try on helmets before purchasing. If you will wear the helmet with goggles, bring the goggles to try on with it.

Look for a helmet that has an insulated layer on the inside and a hard outer casing. This lining should cover your ears to protect them from cold wind.

Some winter helmets will have vents or adjustable plugs to prevent your scalp from sweating.[9]

Search for a ski mask. Ski masks—also known a face liners or balaclavas– provide extra protection against extremely low temperatures. These resemble hoods that pull over your head. They will often cover your mouth, chin, and forehead against strong wind and cold temperatures. In addition to skiing and snowboarding, ski masks may be useful for those hiking or biking at high altitudes.

EditFinding Footwear
Seek out thermal socks. If your feet get cold while exercising, you may want to find warmer socks. Thermal socks are a great choice as they keep your feet warm and dry through all types of cold weather.
Thermal socks tend to be made out of wool. If you have a wool sensitivity, look for a pair made out of synthetic materials.[10]
If you decide to wear thinner socks, you can layer an extra pair over the first pair for the same effect. This may be uncomfortable for running.

Go up a size. Thermal socks are extremely thick, and you may find that your foot is cramped inside your normal exercise shoe. You may want to find a winter shoe that is one half size to one full size larger than your normal shoe. When shopping for shoes, try wearing a pair of thermal socks to see how they fit in the shoe.[11]

Look for good traction. If you live somewhere where there is snow and ice, you will need to find a shoe with good traction. This may help prevent falls during cold weather. When looking for a winter shoe, check the bottom to see what type of traction there is.[12]
A good shoe for snow or ice will have traction on the bottom of the shoe that resembles studs or cleats.

If you enjoy hiking in high, snowy altitudes, you may want to look for snow cleats or crampons.

Consider waterproof shoes. If snow and ice are an issue for you, you may want to find a shoe that is waterproof. A waterproof shoe is generally more expensive. The material is heavier and less flexible, but it can keep your feet warm and dry in snowy conditions. Water can still enter the shoe through the sock.[13] If you do not have much snow or rain in your area, you may not need a waterproof shoe.

If your hands are cold while exercising, try placing chemical heat packs inside your gloves.

Layers can be removed when you are too warm and added when you are too hot. You may find that you do not need them as you are moving. Once you have stopped or slowed down, you may want to add them back on.

If the temperatures are low or if it wet and windy, you may be at risk for hypothermia. Make sure that your body is completely covered, including your hands and ears. Even with waterproof gear, you should not exercise when it is raining in low temperatures.[14]
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